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SIGNIFICANT ENVIONMENTAL BENEFITS GRANTArkaba's conservation programs receive funding under the Native Vegetation Council's 'Significant Environment Benefits Grant (SEB)' program. The SEB grants "provide funding for the on-ground restoration of native vegetation in South Australia" and on Arkaba these programs were initiated in 2014 and are still ongoing across the property. We will keep this page up to date with new conservation program objectives and successes.
The project has a number of objectives against which the first year's work has seen a number of outcomes:
Objective 1:Increase the area of native habitat and vegetation managed to reduce critical threats to biodiversity and enhance the connectivity and resilience of habitats and landscapes.
Against this, the entire property (an area of 260km2) is now managed for biodiversity outcomes after 150 years of grazing by domestic stock. Feral animal control programs have been continued and pest plant control programs have commenced. With the north-eastern boundary of the property adjoining the Flinders Ranges National Park, connectivity has been provided between these areas for conservation purposes.
Objective 2:Reduce the threats posed to the EPBC listed species by pest species on Arkaba.
Aerial and ground based goat control programs have been conducted during the first year with 780 goats culled and fox baiting programs conducted with 1080 baits. This has significantly reduced the impact of the threats of grazing by goats and predation by foxes on colonies of Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby across the property.
Population mapping and assessment of the EPBC listed Slender Bellfruit has continued with permanent monitoring sites established.
Programs to control feral cats have been undertaken with 44 cats trapped and shot during the first year. The feral control programs have also benefitted other species including the Short-beaked Echidna with increasing sightings.
Objective 3:Reduction in grazing pressure from domestic stock and feral animals on native vegetation communities.
21 permanent monitoring sites have been established to assess the recovery of a range of vegetation communities across the property. Base-line monitoring was conducted in September 2014 and these sites will be assessed annually.
Positive signs have been seen with the recovery of species such a Bullock Bush, Narrow-leafed Emu Bush, Oswald's Wattle and Elegant Wattle at the monitoring sites and across the property.
Regeneration of native grasses, including Bottle-washers, Wallaby and Wire Grass, is increasing though exotic weed species are still prevalent in many areas that were previously heavily grazed.
Due to ongoing bureaucratic delays with potential Aboriginal site clearance, plans to undertake warren ripping to reduce rabbit numbers have been delayed.
Objective 4:Reduction in grazing pressure from domestic stock and feral animals on permanent springs and waterholes and riparian vegetation communities on Arkaba.
16 springs were surveyed across the property and permanent monitoring sites established. The 3 main assessment components are water quality, soil/bank condition and vegetation condition. From this, 19% of springs were in good condition, 69% in fair condition, 12% in poor condition.
Surveys to measure the health of Red Gum communities were conducted along 3 major creek lines and the condition of 10 trees were assessed at the permanent monitoring sites.